by James A. Martin

Top 3 iPad, iPhone Apps for Summer 2012

Jul 25, 20123 mins

Every few months mobile-apps blogger James A. Martin rounds up his favorite new apps. The iOS apps featured here in his summer 2012 showcase are sure to boost your productivity and social-media savvy.

In case you’re just tuning in, I use a lot of mobile apps. Most of them have some feature or functionality that makes them worth recommending. Some are just plain awful. And a few are real keepers—apps that I’ll continue to use on my mobile device long after I test them for this blog.

Today’s post is a look back at my three favorite, recently released iOS apps that I reviewed during the past three months. Check back on Friday for a look at my three favorite Android apps I reviewed during this period.

Bento 4 for iPad

Bento 4 for iPad is a personal database app from FileMaker, and until August 1 you can buy it for just $5. Even the regular  cost of $10 is a nice price for a sweet app.

Unlike some other database tablet apps, Bento 4 for iPad is completely self-sufficient; it doesn’t require a desktop companion application to, say, create a new database (or “library,” as it’s called in Bento). The app combines drag-and-drop ease with lots of database templates and the ability to download (for free) even more from FileMaker’s Bento template exchange Web page.

The search function needs bit of work. And I’d like to set my own default theme for all new databases I create. Otherwise, Bento 4 is a delicious productivity app that can help business users cost-justify their iPads.

Bento 4 for iPad template exchange screen

Klout for iPhone

If you’re active on social media sites, you’ll want the free Klout for iPhone app.

The app’s main functions are (a) to constantly inform you of your current Klout score through an app icon badge (see the screen shot below) and push notifications; and (b) to keep you addicted to the practice of constantly checking (and potentially raising) your Klout score. On both counts, the app succeeds.

Klout badge icon

I reviewed version 1.0 back in May. Since then, the app has been updated. The current edition (version 1.5) now lets you find Twitter users’ Klout scores by searching for their account names. And it now displays all your connected social networks.

A warning, though: Klout is the Krack of social media. Once you start checking your score, there’s no turning back.

LinkedIn for iPad

It took forever and a decade (or so it seemed), but in late April, LinkedIn finally released an iPad version of its social media app. Even though it doesn’t offer all the features you get using LinkedIn in a browser, the free app was worth the wait.

The iPad app has a pleasing, Flipboard-inspired interface for browsing status updates and news stories. If you integrate your calendar with the app, you can view the LinkedIn profiles of people with whom you have appointments—a nice touch. You can also see who has viewed your profile, find people you might know, post status updates, and more.

LinkedIn is an essential social-media network for professionals, and the iOS app (also optimized for smaller iPhone and iPod touch screens) will help you make the most of it.

LinkedIn for iPad